Attempt at Water Marbling?

So I’ve been seeing videos all over the place for the last few months about water marbling.  Tumblr explodes with water marble pictures and I have never had a desire to do it … until last night.  I don’t know why but I was watching tv and I had an urge to try it out.  So I took pictures of the process, and pictures of the failed product.  Lets recap my failure.

Products Needed:

– room temperature water (really important that its room temperature, if it’s too hot it won’t dry and if it’s too cold the polish will sink to the bottom of the bowl)

– a bowl (obviously)

– tooth picks

– nail polish remover for the horrible freaking mess you will definitely make

– cotton balls for the nail polish remover

– vaseline

– polish of your choice


The colors I decided to experiment with (from left to right): Essie “Lilacism”, China Glaze “Lemon Fizz”, China Glaze “Secret Peri-Winkle” and Butter London “Artful Dodger


How To:


Step 1: Set up! Put your bowl on some paper towel, make sure your tooth picks are easily accessible, and the lids to all your nail polishes are unscrewed but not off


Step 2:  Paint your nails with a base color.  This step is actually optional but the water marbling will make your nail polish sheer because it spreads out the pigmentation.  If you don’t do this step you can always do multiple coats of the water marbling but it will obviously take a lot longer and the patterns won’t be as neat.  I like to do the base color because I’m too lazy and intimidated to do this process more than once.  I painted my nails with an opaque white polish, Sally Hansens IstaDri “Whirlwind White” but you can choose whatever color you’d like.  I bet some cool color combinations could come from using a blue or some other color as a base.


Step 3: Rub the vaseline all around your cuticle, down to your first knuckle and on the tips of your fingers.  This is so the nail polish won’t stick to your skin and make a huge mess.  Make sure that you don’t get the vaseline on your nail because it will prevent the water marble polish from sticking to the base color.  You could use tape rather than vaseline, that is actually the more popular way to do it, but I prefer the vaseline because it moisturizes my cuticles and I personally think it gives a cleaner application.  Only put vaseline on one hand at a time so you can apply the polish and maneuver the tooth pick with the other.


Step 4:  This step you have to work fast! If you don’t work fast the polish will dry and it will be impossible to do step 6.  Take the brush of one of the polishes and DO NOT wipe off the sides.  Take the brush out of the polish with a lot of excess polish on the tip and allow the polish to drip into the water.  Keep the brush close to the water, if you drop the polish from the brush when the brush is too high the polish won’t float on top of the water.  Let the polish drop onto the surface of the water and it will spread out.


Step 5:  Repeat step 4 very very quickly with each color you want to use, allowing the polish to drip off the brush onto the surface of the water.  With every drop the polish will expand out and you will have rings of colors in your water.  Do as many rings as you want, I did 4 to 5 for each step.


Step 6:  Take your tooth pick and start dragging the colors together.  You can create whatever designs you want during this step and you can really get the colors to blend together.


Step 7: Place your finger at the exact spot that you want the design you see in the water to transfer onto your nail.  This part was cool because I could pick a particular place that I felt the colors bended together in the most unusual way.


Step 8: Keep your nail in the water for a few seconds and with the tooth pick, gather the excess polish that is still floating around on top of the water and remove it from the bowl.  This can only be done when the top layer is pretty much dry and if you can gather enough it will help with clean up after you’re done.


Step 9:  Pull your nail out and repeat steps 4-8 for the rest of your fingers.


Step 10: Clean up! Since you had the vaseline on it is very easy to remove the access polish from your nails.  Just take a cotton ball with some nail polish remover and sweep it along your fingers where the excess polish is. It should come off very easily.


Step 11:  Add a top coat and you’re done!


With all the knowledge that I possess on this technique, you’d think I’d be better.  No … this took me about an hour and I did two attempts.  This is the second try and honestly I really liked the result.  I couldn’t handle that some of the nails were messed up while others looked pretty so this manicure lasted for about as long as it took to take this picture.  I did want to try again but at that point I had put off homework long enough and needed to stop being OCD about my nails.  I will try again in the future but I had to post the procedure and ultimately my failed manicure.  These steps do work, I promise, but practice makes perfect and I definitely will be practicing a lot more.

2 thoughts on “Attempt at Water Marbling?

  1. Pingback: Candy Cane Nails « misshollyberries

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